"Weekly Roundup for May 23-29: UN peacekeepers unable to prevent LRA attack on major Congolese town
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Now onto the news....
The Good: The UN announced that the first of 3,000 troop reinforcements will arrive in the DR Congo as early as next month to boost the embattled peacekeeping force there.
The Bad: The LRA launched a bold attack on the Congolese town of Dungu last weekend, just miles away from where a contingent of UN peacekeepers are stationed.
The Ugly: The Ugandan government continues to torture prisoners and undermine press freedom with impunity, according to a human rights report issued this week by Amnesty International.
- The first troops of a 3,000-strong contingent to reinforce of the undermanned UN peacekeeping force in the DR Congo may begin arriving next month. However, the UN Security Council, which authorized the deployment last year, has been unable to acquire attack helicopters and other essential military hardware desperately needed by the UN force.
- LRA rebels attacked the outskirts of the Congolese town of Dungu this week, killing and abducting civilians, burning houses and causing thousands of people to flee their homes. UN peacekeepers stationed in Dungu deployed but did not engage the rebel force.
Situation in Northern Uganda
- Decades of war and government neglect have left northern Uganda the most marginalized region of Uganda, according to research done by Uganda's Independent magazine. Northern Ugandans are woefully underrepresented at senior levels of the Ugandan government and have dramatically higher poverty levels and school drop-out rates than other parts of the country.
- Ugandan political opposition leader Ogenga Latigo spoke about the effect of military operations against LRA rebels and the need to assist war-affected communities in northern Uganda in an interview with The Observer this week.
- Amnesty International released a report highlighting the precarious state of human rights in Uganda, highlighting the Ugandan government's continued interference with press freedom, abuse of prisoners, and failure to prosecute violence against women and girls as a criminal offense.
- Resolve Uganda Senior Policy Analyst Paul Ronan (yup, that's me) spoke yesterday to Voice of America about the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act and how its passing could spark unprecedented efforts by the US government to stop LRA violence and support sustainable peace in northern Uganda. (Click here to read our new brief about the legislation.)
- The New Yorker ran a blog post concerning US involvement in efforts to apprehend LRA leader Joseph Kony and prevent LRA violence, emphasizing how landmark legislation on the conflict introduced last week could improve US engagement of the conflict."